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Jesse Marsch leaves New York Red Bulls, Chris Armas named head coach

Jul 22, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch before the game against the Minnesota United at TCF Bank Stadium. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

Jesse Marsch is no longer head coach of the New York Red Bulls. The club announced his long-expected departure to “pursue other opportunities” and simultaneously promoted assistant Chris Armas to head coach, effective immediately.

“We are fully supportive of Jesse and his decision to pursue a new opportunity,” Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlett said in a statement released Friday. “Jesse played a large role in establishing our club identity, but the culture here is the result of the dedication and hard work of many. We are confident in Chris Armas. We know Chris and the coaching staff will have our team ready to compete each week, and they will continue to find ways to improve and work towards our ultimate goal of winning MLS Cup.”

Various reports place Marsch in negotiations with the Red Bulls’ German sister club RB Leipzig as either an assistant or interim head coach.

After three and a half years in New York, Marsch leaves the club in good shape. He is the winningest coach in franchise history with an overall record of 58-35-25. He also led the club to three MLS playoff appearances, the 2015 Supporters’ Shield and a U.S. Open Cup final. The Red Bulls currently are second in the Eastern Conference with a 10-4-2 record entering Sunday’s 7 p.m. ET match against rival New York City FC.

Armas, a native New Yorker, becomes the 16th head coach in franchise history after joining the Red Bulls in 2015. A former U.S. international, he previously served as head coach of the Adelphi University women’s soccer team and as an assistant on Hamlett’s Chicago Fire staff.

As a player, Armas spent 10 of his 12 MLS seasons in Chicago, helping the Fire to an MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in 1998.

“The midfielder was a six-time MLS All-Star and is one of just four players in MLS history to earn Best XI distinction five times, second only to Landon Donovan’s seven,” the Red Bulls’ statement boasted of the new head coach. “Armas was named U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2000 and totaled 66 appearances for the National Team, featuring heavily for the U.S. teams that won the 2002 and 2005 Gold Cups.”

“On behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to thank Jesse for what he helped build here over the last few years,” Red Bulls General Manager Marc de Grandpre said. “Chris has emerged as a leader in his own right, and embodies our core values on and off the field. We are excited for him to take this opportunity and know he will perfectly represent our club.”

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